The insurance industry is not typically known for its appetite for innovation, especially in customer journey management. Strict regulation, traditional business models, and the use of legacy IT systems have long provided barriers to progress. Despite the explosion of technological advancement in society, many in the insurance industry have stubbornly resisted change.
However, disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the timeline for digital transformation as organizations were forced to adapt to survive. Almost overnight, businesses had to overhaul their processes to support remote working and ensure their online channels were up to date to provide customers with the best possible experience.
The emphasis on the necessity of digital technologies has provided traditional insurance companies with the perfect opportunity to integrate emerging technologies such as AI, ML, Automation, and Big Data, into their business operations. In fact, if they don’t embrace new ways of doing things, they will be left behind in favor of more agile and innovative organizations.
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AI and its related technologies will have a seismic impact on the insurance industry in the next decade. Here are some key areas where AI can be harnessed to enhance the insurance customer journey.
Tailored Advice for Prospective Customers
The internet is the first place anyone tends to go when they want to find out about a new product or service. If the information they’re looking for isn’t easily available, they’ll quickly move on to the next option. Research suggests that you only have around 15 seconds to grab someone’s attention online, so making sure your website is optimized, easy to navigate, and clearly displays the key information will help convert prospective customers into actual ones.
Insurance policies aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution, however, so make sure that prospective customers can ask relevant questions at a time that suits them is a key area where AI can help.
Chatbots fuelled with insurance-specific keywords, policy details and FAQs can provide an innovative solution, allowing prospective customers to input their requirements and AI can respond with advice tailored to their needs. This automation not only provides prospects with 24-hour information, improving customer service and increasing conversion rates but also results in cost savings for the organization from reduced manual processing time.
Automated Systems for Real-Time Quotes
Traditionally, the insurance purchasing process requires customers to provide their details, then insurers/insurance brokers manually process that information before eventually responding to the customer with a quote. It’s an old-fashioned system with too many steps and opportunities for customers to take their business elsewhere.
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However, when automation is incorporated into the quote and underwriting process, pricing can be done in real-time, allowing insurers/insurance brokers to serve a higher number of customers.
It also gives customers a quicker idea of what they can expect to pay, as well as enabling them to initiate cover sooner. This won’t always be possible in more specialist cases, but increased automation and data sharing can supplement human expertise, enabling efficient processes and cost-saving.
Insurtechs are developing innovative APIs that can be incorporated into existing platforms with global data stored in cloud servers to enhance the underwriting and risk profiling process. Alternatively, platforms can be white-labeled to provide a hassle-free option for insurers looking for tailored digital systems. Harnessing emerging technologies to facilitate automation and remove the time and cost challenges associated with servicing customers and underwriting vastly improves the customer experience.
Big Data to Transform the Claims Process
One of the most beneficial ways AI can be applied to insurance is in the claims process. Specifically, in the way, it can be used to process big data. Big Data refers to the huge amount of information that we are able to collect due to advances in data storage, and with AI, we finally have a way to do something useful with it.
Using AI and big data together means claims can be assessed more accurately than ever before. As time goes on, machine learning and algorithms can pick up patterns and nuances that human brains just can’t process easily. This in turn will vastly help to reduce fraudulent claims as ‘red flags’ are spotted much faster, meaning genuine claims can be processed and resolved much more quickly.
All these factors together result in a smoother customer experience, higher quality customer service, and happier employees.
Streamlining administrative processes also has the potential to generate cost savings, which can be passed on to customers in the form of lower insurance premiums or reinvested in the business to add more customer value. A win-win situation for everyone.
The value AI can add to the insurance customer journey cannot be underestimated.
Ultimately, customers are looking for a smooth, accurate, and cost-effective experience. Using data and machine learning to create personalized, convenient customer interactions, streamlining workflows, and providing efficient service will enable insurers to move beyond a simple transactional relationship with their customers to a truly individual one, leading to long-term customer retention and satisfaction.
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